Return to Transcripts main page
Police: Tamerlan Tsarnaev's Body Entombed; Ohio Man Charged With Kidnapping, Rape; Accused Ohio Abduction Just Arraigned; Castro's Domestic Violence Charges
Aired May 9, 2013 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now in the NEWSROOM, home at last, Cleveland reuniting and rejoicing.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are so happy to have Amanda and her daughter home.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Even the ones that doubted, I still want to thank them the most.
COSTELLO: A homecoming and heartache.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm thrilled, and all I want to do is hug her and say I love you.
COSTELLO: This morning, a first look at the suspect.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why are you covering your face? What do you have to say to those women?
COSTELLO: As Ariel Castro faces a judge, and we get a disturbing picture of what happened on Seymour Street.
ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: Unimaginable, sickening new details in a police incident report obtained by CNN.
COSTELLO: A baby's birth, the arrest, and the tense moments when police entered the home.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were told that they left the house and went into the garage in disguise.
COSTELLO: A special edition of NEWSROOM live from Cleveland starts now.
Good morning to you. I'm Carol Costello. I'm going to take you to Cleveland in just a minute, but I have to begin with this breaking news out of Boston. The issue surrounding Tamerlan Tsarnaev's body has been resolved. As you know, his body has been in a Worcester funeral home for quite some time now. No one wanted to bury his body.
Well, according to the police department's web site and I'm going to read it to you, because we just got it. This is what it says on the Worcester Police Department's web site. As a result of our public appeal for help, a courageous and compassionate individual came forward to provide the assistance needed to properly bury the deceased. His body is no longer in the city of Worcester and is now entombed.
The police chief would like to thank all the officers who worked the security detail at the funeral home and acknowledge their professionalism and dedication. As for who took the body or where the body is now entombed, the police department is not releasing that information. Of course, we have our Paula Newton in Boston. She'll do some more digging on the story and we'll bring you any new information as it becomes available to us.
All right, now to a courtroom in Cleveland, and this morning's arraignment for a man accused of unspeakable cruelty. This is Ariel Castro, unrecognizable from the big bully police described. Bowed, meek, and himself in chains. He kept his head down as the judge arraigned him on charges of imprisoning three women for years. Let's listen.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've read the constitutional rights and also the misdemeanor prisoners.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you very much.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pedro Castro charged with open container in 2011.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. Castro would like to plead no contest to this open container charge. I'd like to point out for the record that this is the only charge that this gentleman has. He's been in jail for four days. I request credit for the four days served.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It will be four days.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Onil Castro. In 2001, open container.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: With respect to Mr. Onil Castro, this case is 12 years old. They're minor offenses. We would move to dismiss.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your motion to dismiss is granted.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I'd like to also point out for the record that these are the only charges that this man has, two minor misdemeanors from 12 years ago, nothing else. Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ariel Castro charged with kidnapping and rape, kidnapping and rape on the second, kidnapping and rape on the third, and kidnapping on the fourth.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: With respect to Mr. Castro, he is waiving examination on each case, with respect to bond on Mr. Castro is 52 years old. He has lived in the area for 39 years. He is on unemployment compensation. And to the best of my knowledge, he has no convictions for felonies or serious misdemeanors.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good morning, your honor.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good morning.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- assistant prosecuting attorney, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office. The charges against Mr. Castro -- snatched three young ladies from Cleveland's west side streets. He used them in a self-gratifying, self-serving way that he saw fit, held the victims in a horrifying ordeal for more than a decade -- a little girl born to one of the women.
There were repeated beatings. They were bound and restrained and sexually assaulted. Never free to leave this residence. Just as suddenly, unexpectedly, they re-emerged. Thankfully and miraculously three days ago at the home of Mr. Castro, a search of Mr. Castro's residence, today the situation has turned, your honor.
Castro is in captivity, a prisoner. The women are free to resume their lives that were interrupted, and also with the promise -- and I hope that justice will be served, to ensure that justice is served, to protect the victims in the community of Mr. Castro, manipulated and deceived, we ask that bond be set at $5 million. Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And also ask that he have no contact with the victims or their families, whether he is out on bail or not.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you very much. Four cases, bond will be set at $2 million on each case, $2 million on each case. Thank you very much.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're welcome, your honor.
COSTELLO: All right, we want to step outside the courtroom right now and check in with Brian Todd. He was on hand for that court appearance. Brian, as I watched that arraignment, I was struck by Castro's demeanor. He appears defeated, kind of cowardly. What did it look like to you?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely the same way, Carol. He was despondent. He looked down. He did not respond to anything. He never spoke. He was led in, in handcuffs but not in leg shackles, but he walked in kind of a stilted manner and was very wooden and looked down the entire time.
One moment that kind of struck me was when the judge set the bail and kind of went over some technicalities that one of our cameras zoomed in on his attorney talking to him and shaking her head. He didn't even respond to her. He didn't even make eye contact with her. He was looking down the entire time. The only time we saw him really do anything was when he signed some kind of waiver, I believe waiving examination in this hearing, but he really looked almost non-functional in the courtroom today. We talked about the bail there. The judge set that at $8 million total. That's $2 million for each of the four cases.
There were four cases laid out against him, kidnapping and rape involving three of the victims, and kidnapping involving the fourth victim. Those were the four cases. A total of $8 million in bail set for Ariel Castro. Afterward, his defense attorney told us that essentially that means it's a no-bond hearing.
He doesn't have the kind of money to get out at this point. So he's going to be transferred from the city jail to the Cuyahoga County Jail. His temporary attorney told us that he's been on suicide watch in the city jail. She imagines -- she expects that he will also be on suicide watch in the county jail -- Carol.
COSTELLO: OK, when you talk about that fourth victim, they're talking about the little girl, 6-year-old Jocelyn. He's also charged with kidnapping in her case.
TODD: That's correct.
COSTELLO: I don't quite understand that. We'll ask the defense attorney about that in just a second. Describe the physicality of this man. Is he small? Is he large? It's hard to tell.
TODD: I'd say he's about 5'8", but again, he was slouched over, and walking in a very stilted manner. It's hard to really tell with someone when you're eyeballing him like that what he looks like when he's in normal circumstances walking around. He appears to be maybe 5'8", 5'9", he was slouched over.
Again, it looked like his eyes were almost closed. It's hard to tell what else might have influenced him. Again, he's been on suicide watch, according to his defense attorney. But he really did look almost non-functional, like he may have understood what was going on around him, but he didn't show any signs of it -- Carol.
COSTELLO: So his brothers appeared in court on unrelated charges. I think they were suspected of having open containers, and they'll probably be released later today. But they were all in the courtroom at the same time. Did they look at one another? Did they talk at all?
TODD: No, they never looked at one another. They never talked at all. The brothers were led in first. And they seemed to be a lot more coherent than Ariel Castro did. They were looking around. They did not speak. None of the defendants spoke. But the brothers came in, looked straight at the judge and were able to at least make eye contact with their defense attorney.
There were two open container charges, one for each brother. Onil Castro faced a drug abuse charge. His charges were 12 years old. Those were dismissed. Pedro Castro faced an open container charge for which he pleaded no contest. He was charged $100 in court costs. And as you mentioned, they're both going to be let go very soon.
COSTELLO: Were there any victims -- not victims, because I know they weren't there, but family members of victims? Were they in the courtroom?
TODD: Not that we saw, Carol. The courtroom was packed, but it was mostly media members. There were some detectives and police officers in the front row, prosecuting officials there, the judge, of course, but no family members or anybody like that who we could recognize in the courtroom. It was mostly media and officials of the court.
COSTELLO: All right, Brian Todd, thanks so much. Ariel Castro was able to meet with an attorney, as you know, shortly before he made his first court appearance. Holly Hughes, she is not the one, but she is a criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor not involved with this case. Holly joins us now. Good morning.
HOLLY HUGHES, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Good morning, Carol.
COSTELLO: Actually, that struck me too that his public defender was a woman.
HUGHES: Luck of the draw. Whoever happens to be catching cases when it comes in, sort of like your homicide detectives, whoever is on shift, whoever is there, if you're up next, you get assigned.
COSTELLO: Well, Brian Todd said he didn't really react to her at all.
HUGHES: Well, he's not in control anymore. When we look at these types of criminals, the type who exercise just total control and not just physical control, Carol, this is about psychological control, chaining these women, torturing them all these years. It's all about his own little world.
Now that he has no control of what's happening in the courtroom, he's not going to engage. He's not going to bother. We see his attitude towards women. So he's probably not going to be very cooperative with this woman until it clicks I'm trying to save the rest of your life. I'm trying to help you out here and then he may cooperate a little bit.
COSTELLO: I'm sure the victims are obviously terrified of this man. I don't know if they were watching television at the time, but I would imagine if they saw his demeanor on television, it would present an entirely different picture of this man.
HUGHES: I'm sure it would. And remember how young these girls were when they were snatched, when they were stolen from society, Carol. They were teenagers. We're talking about 14 and 17 and 19, somewhere in that age range. So that's the time, you know, the stranger offers you a ride, OK, that's great.
But once you get into his vehicle, your entire life as you know it disappears, and that's the psychological torture. That's the beating down, that control and then it turns into Stockholm Syndrome, which you rely on this person to literally keep you alive, to give you food. So you're going to at some point over a tenured captivity sort of look to them for that sustenance, for that life.
COSTELLO: OK, so you're a defense attorney.
HUGHES: I am now, but I prosecuted for 10 years.
COSTELLO: Let's talk about this from a defense attorney angle.
HUGHES: Sure, absolutely.
COSTELLO: Because how would you defend this man?
HUGHES: Well, you know, there is no defense. Basically what they're going to have to do is look into filing a psychological evaluation on him and basically saying is there something where we can plead him insane, and crazy doesn't necessarily mean legally insane. It's a very high standard.
When we get into a court of law, even though all of us are going that's just nuts what he did, the legal standard is much higher. It's called the McNaughton rule. Did you know the difference between right and wrong? And clearly, if you're chaining people up, you know it's wrong.
Because otherwise you would just leave the door open and you could come and go as you please. So I think they're going to have a very, very difficult road here. And ultimately what they're going to look to do is get him the best plea bargain they can.
COSTELLO: You can't defend this. Believe me a lot of my female friends say this man stole these women's youth. He forcibly impregnated them, forcibly kicked them in the stomach to abort their babies. And he can't face the death penalty? I know a number of my female friends who would want him to.
HUGHES: That's exactly right. There again, you open up that big debate. Certain states have it, certain states don't. So had he done this in another state, would he be facing the death penalty? Some states are now looking into making rape an offense that's punishable by the death penalty. So there are all sorts of things happening there.
COSTELLO: Holly Hughes, thank you so much for being with us this morning. We appreciate it. We want to talk about the police report. The details coming out of that police report are just horrendous.
Holly, I want to keep you here because we don't have our reporter in the field. We're having a technical issue. But in reading this police report, it's just insane. The little girl Jocelyn, Amanda Berry's child -- and we assume that Ariel Castro is the father. Jocelyn was born in a plastic pool, and Michelle Knight was there during the birth.
And supposedly, according to the police report, during this whole time, Ariel Castro is standing by and saying to Michelle Knight "don't let this baby die." Michelle Knight, she doesn't know how to birth a baby. HUGHES: Exactly. Well, once again, the attitude towards women. Well, you're female, you figure it out. You ought to know how to do this, that whole dismissiveness. And threatening her, telling her if that baby dies, I'm killing you. You're next.
COSTELLO: Well, the frightening thing was at one point according to the police report, the baby stopped breathing and Michelle Knight breathed mouth to mouth. I know that Michelle Knight says, according to the police report, that she was impregnated five times, and that Ariel Castro allegedly starved her.
COSTELLO: And punched her in the stomach. Could he be charged for forcibly -- allegedly forcibly causing her to lose her babies?
HUGHES: It depends what type of laws they have, but he could be charged with aggravated assault certainly for each one of those, aggravated battery. Those will carry 20-year penalty ranges. So he can be charged with a myriad of things. Because the whole problem -- if you wanted to charge him with performing an illegal abortion, so to speak, you'd have to prove intent.
So is he just mean son of a bitch and he's kicking you, well that's aggravated assault. The safe charge would be to go ahead and charge him with those types of offenses because you don't have to worry about the intent. Was he really trying to abort the baby or was he just a mean S.O.B. and punching you around like he did on so many other occasions when you weren't pregnant.
COSTELLO: Holly Hughes, thank you so much for being with us. We really appreciate it.
Just ahead, more of our special coverage out of Ohio. Plus, convicted murderer Jodi Arias says she's hoping for the ultimate freedom, and that would be death. More on the Jodi Arias case right after this.
COSTELLO: We want to talk more about this terrible case out of Cleveland, Ohio, and the domestic violence aspect of it. I'm joined by Linda Johanek, the CEO of the Domestic Violence and Child Advocacy Center in Cleveland. Linda, thank you so much for joining us.
LINDA JOHANEK, CEO, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND CHILD ADVOCACY CENTER: Thank you for having me.
COSTELLO: I just want to talk a little bit more about Castro's demeanor in court. He appeared at an arraignment this morning and he kept his head down the entire time. He did not look up. He did not look like a big bully, like someone who would, you know, beat someone up or chain them in the basement. He just looked like -- he just looked rather pathetic. Does that surprise you?
JOHANEK: No, actually, not at all. We find that domestic violence offenders tend to have two sides to them. To the outside world, sometimes they are charming, sometimes they're just functioning like every other person, but behind closed doors, it's a different story. I think today, he was just presenting himself the way he could.
COSTELLO: We found out from court documents that in 2005, his then wife, his former wife accused him of terrible domestic violence, broke her ribs, her nose. As far as we know, Castro was never charged with any of this. And I was just wondering because there were never consequences with allegedly mistreating women, did that empower him in some way?
JOHANEK: Yes. Actually, we find on a regular basis that if domestic violence offenders are not held accountable, they then have the confidence to continue that behavior. It empowers them to continue to do physical assaults, emotional attitudes and mind games and manipulation.
Domestic violence is all about power and control. And if they think they can get away with it, they'll continue. What we know about domestic violence is that it continues in both severity and frequency. If they're not held accountable, they are empowered to continue that pattern.
COSTELLO: And something else that surprises me, when you interview members of Castro's family, even his daughter who was on "Good Morning America" this morning said he was never -- never seemingly a violent man, yet for years, he allegedly abused his wife and she filed papers in court.
JOHANEK: Yes. It is very interesting. I think domestic violence is very complicated, and that's why a lot of people don't understand why someone stays in a relationship. That's the number one question that we get on a regular basis. However, it is something about being very secretive, very deceptive.
The tactics that Castro seems to have used with the three victims are classic tactics with what a domestic violence offender does. Isolation was number one. He clearly isolated them in this house. He also did a lot of emotional manipulation.
And I think one of the things that people find it hard to believe is that when they learn someone's a domestic violence offender, they're surprised because they don't always show that side of them and even family members and friends. It winds up being something that can take people by surprise because it seems like the person is living a normal life.
COSTELLO: So back to those court filings from 2005, the former wife alleges he broke her ribs, broke her nose a couple of times. She was afraid of him. She filed for a protective order. As far as we know, as I said, no charges were filed. And I know you don't know the specific case, but why do you suppose charges were not filed? Even if his former wife decided not to in the end file charges against him, still would police have to file charges against him anyway?
JOHANEK: Well, domestic violence in Ohio, we have a law that is called preferred arrest. And so that is when the police go to a domestic violence call, they need to arrest the offender. If they don't, they have to know why. So this is an interesting case in that it seems to be the alleged charges are severe.
And so it does seem to be unusual that even if I heard reports that the attorney didn't show up, or a variety of things. But whatever it is, it is -- domestic violence is the state against the offender. It is not the individual and so usually there are documents. Whether it's police reports, hospital reports -- and this is what we tell victims all the time.
Make sure you create a paper trail, because it winds up being he says, she says. If there's not that paper trail, it can be difficult. Domestic violence is the number one call in all major cities, and believe it or not, in most suburban. The only thing that might trump that is traffic calls.
This is one in four women are victims of domestic violence and it's something that we as a society need to become better at responding. Whether it's law enforcement, justice system, we need to take domestic violence more seriously in that whenever there is an allegation, we need to make sure that we're doing everything we can to follow up, to hold that offender accountable, and really to keep the victim safe.
Somebody said what would have happened if he was held accountable? Would all of this have occurred? It's a good question. If he was held accountable, that might have been the end of it. So as I don't know the specifics of that case and why it did not go forward, we do see a lot of domestic violence cases in which the offender is not charged or the sentence is not as severe. And that creates more safety issues for the victim.
COSTELLO: Absolutely. Linda Johanek, thank you for all that you do for abused women. It's terrific.
JOHANEK: Thank you.
COSTELLO: Thank you, Linda. We'll be right back.